2What is Populism?Populism was a national movement associated with farmers.Being that most people in Kansas in the 1890s were farmers, Kansas played a significant role in the creation of the People’s Party.It was a successful 3rd party political movementIt was created during a difficult economic times for farmers, who were frustrated with unequal wealth and corruption of industry, such as railroads during the Gilded Age.They wanted the government to end the corruptionFounder James B. Weaver
3Rise of PopulismAfter the Civil War, farmers found it more and more difficult to make a good living.New technology of the industrial era created more advanced farm equipment.New equipment cut time and labor costs, which allowed them to plant moreUnfortunately, it also meant that to do this farmers had to invest in expensive machinery. This put farmers into debt.It also meant that farmers produced more than the market needed, causing prices to fall
4Rise of Populism continued Droughts in the 1880s and 1890s made it impossible to grow cropsIf a farmer had a bad year and carried too much debt, he could lose his farmPeople were starving, had no fuel, and were facing foreclosure
5Why were the Populists unhappy? They wanted a fair price for the food they grewThey felt that the United States’ economic policies favored industry over the farmerThey were in debt, could loose their farmNo rain and grasshoppersHigh interest rates on debtFrustrations with inequity of wealthCorruption of business (railroads/monopolies)
6Price Indexes for Consumer & Farm Products: 1865-1913
7The People’s Party Platform The basic question behind the People’s Party was who should the government represent?The Workers or Big BusinessThey felt that the government favored Big BusinessThe farmers were particularly mad at the railroadsThey felt the railroads charged them unfair prices to transport their crops.Farmers were also mad at banksThey felt the banks were charging them high interest rates
81892 The People’s Party demand reform! Here are some of their ideas:Change the way the U.S. mints and distributes currency so that enough money is always available.Re-monitization of silver.Abolition of the National Bank.Break up monopolies and trusts so that prices are subject to competition.Create an income tax where rich people pay a higher percent of their earnings than poor people.Limit government revenue so that it does not exceed government spending.Give the government ownership of the railroads, telegraph, and telephone.Prevent land speculation and ownership of land by people who are not citizens of the U.S. and do not intend to live on the land.Reform elections through the use of the secret ballot, the election of U.S. senators by the people, a method by which the people can initiate laws, and the ability of the people to recall elected officials.8-hour work day for government employees.
11The Panic of 1893 Businesses vanished and went bankrupt Over 16,000 disappearedTriggered a stock market crashBanks failedBy 1895, unemployment reached 3 millionPeople cried out to the government for help, but the government continued its laissez faire policies
13Coxey’s Army, 1894Protest march by unemployed workers from the United States, led by the Populist Jacob Coxey. They marched on Washington D.C. in 1894, the second year of a four-year economic depression that was the worst in U.S. History to that time.
20Why Did Populism Decline? The economy experienced rapid change.The era of small producers and farmers was fading away.Race divided the Populist Party, especially in the South.The Populists were not able to break existing party loyalties.Most of their agenda was co-opted by the Democratic Party.
23What Are the Metaphors?Scarecrow: farmers, stereotyped as being brainless, but actually had a lot of good ideas.Tinman: Industrial Workers, rusted solid by rain storm (depression), loses limbs in book-like workers.Lion: William Jennings Bryan: Loud, reformer, speechmaker, with courage he could be “King” (president)Munchkins: The working class, victims/preyWicked Witch of the West: Western FrontierToto: Populist movement, reveals the corrupt Wizard, no collar means you can’t control the PopulistsDorothy: crosses over from farm to Oz(The Gilded Age), voice of the people
24What Are the Metaphors?Wicked Witch of the East: Industrial Establishment, factory owners and bankers, Killed by a house (Homestead Act) symbolizes the free land out west that attracted immigrants away from the factories.Glinda the Good Witch of the North: Alaska Gold Rush, the flood of gold solved the nation’s financial problemsWizard of Oz: President McKinley, very few people actually saw himFlying Monkeys: Pinkerton Guards, hired to put down up-risings, sent to control Coxey’s ArmyDorothy and her 4 friends: Coxey’s Army, marching arm in arm to Washington DC to demand changes.
25What Are the Metaphors?Castle Guards: National Guardsmen sent by President Grover Cleveland to break up Coxey’s Army-sent to stop them but really on their side.Auntie Em: corruption caused the nation to be “sick”, American was a Christian country that had lost sight of God.Yellow Brick Road: Currency based on the gold standard/filled with hazardsSilver Slippers: Currency based on the silver standard/helped Dorothy get back home-back to the way it use to beBalloon: Theodore Roosevelt-full of hot air and out of controlEmerald City: Washington D.C. –tainted green by money. “Get up at noon and start work at 1:00 an hour for lunch and then at 2:00 we’re done” (nothing gets accomplished in Washington)Tornado: The Panic of 1893 (financial panic) destroyed many farmsPoppies: drug and alcohol abused lead to the downfall of society